Perched on a sturdy chair, 8-year-old Emery Elkins of Murfreesboro leans over her kitchen table and reaches into a large bucket to select a handful of sunflowers.
"I usually put small flowers like lavender in, too," said Emery, balancing herself as she gingerly places each sunflower onto a bed of fern stems and white daisies spread across a sheet of parchment paper. "Then I tie them off," she explained, fumbling with twine. "Mom, can you help me?"
Wrenn Elkins walks over to help her daughter, both chuckling as they wrap up the bouquet. "Me and my mom believe smiles heal," said Emery, holding the bouquet half as big as her. "It just gives me hope."
Emery was 4 when she decided on her career move. "I was watching 'Bee Movie' and it has a florist in it. I went up to my mother after the movie and said, 'Mom, I need to be a florist,'" said Emery.
Instead of saying no, Wrenn said yes to her daughter’s wishes. "We were always about chasing dreams," Wrenn said. "If they want do something, there’s no reason to wait. If they change their minds later, it was good practice."
For her fifth birthday, Emery received a playhouse-sized greenhouse, flower seeds, and dirt. Then Wrenn bought grow lights, and they waited, patiently, Emery said. She checked on her seeds every day and tracked the progress.
"At first it started as tiny little seed. Then it grew into a little sprout. And it grew taller and taller and started getting buds. Those buds sprouted and then I had a beautiful flower," Emery said, her hands expressing her enthusiasm for flowers and herbs.
Wrenn found a youth-centered entrepreneurship fair where they lived in Utah and they set up a booth. Emery made more than $100 in the first hour. The pint-sized florist was delighted. "Tons of people supported her. They loved her," Wrenn said. "I just love seeing her light up and she’s getting to follow her dreams."
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